Sunday, August 7, 2011

Essential Healing

Taken from the August 2011 edition of American Spa magazine.
by Julie Keller

Of the essential oils making headlines today, what do you think is the most exciting and why?
“Essential oil of juniper berry (juniperus communis) is a wonderful analgesic, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, and sedative. Put these properties together with eucalyptus, marjoram, myrtle, fir needle, lavender, or patchouli, and you’ll get the most healing and pain-relieving formula. For massage and body treatments, mix it for deep heat and the treatment of eczema. For facials, choose juniper berry alone or with rosemary for acne. For hands and feet, mix it with lavender for purity and skin renewing.”—Bonnie Canavino, President, Amrit Organic

“I think it’s still the core essential oils that are continuing to make an impact in the world today—lavender, neroli, and rose. All three cover a broad range of everyday skin concerns. If it’s balancing, softening, soothing, or calming, these are the top three I would turn to for the best results.”—Shannon Gallogly, National Education Trainer, Decléor Paris

Geranium is one of my female first aid oils. It is balancing to female energy and mood swings. It is used during menopause and PMS. When I travel around the country to provide training in spas, and I interface with the therapists, estheticians, and spa guests, I always hear women exclaiming that they need balance. Geranium is one of my oils of choice for helping women find their own personal balance and well-being. It is also an astringent and is tonifying, so it is used for mature skin to tone the tissues.”—Tara Grodjesk, Founder and President, TARA Spa Therapy

Frankincense has made the headlines recently due to medical studies, which show it offers some benefits during cancer treatments. Within the beauty arena, it is renowned for its calming, relaxing aroma and astringent properties to help skintone.”—Sue Harmsworth, Founder and CEO, ESPA International

Frankincense is finally getting the attention it deserves. I have been a fan of this oil for many years. Frankincense is known for its ability to heal skin ailments, reduce wrinkles, soothe dry skin, lessen acne, and diminish scars. True, therapeutic-grade frankincense should be harvested from boswellia carteri to ensure the oil is completely efficacious and synergistic.”—Kimberly Parry, Founder, Kimberly Parry Organics

In your opinion, what essential oil is most beneficial when it comes to skincare and bodycare and why?
“Seasons have a great effect on our preferences when considering essential oils and their uses specifically in aromatherapy. In the summer, essential oil of West Indian lime exhilarates the senses with its sweet and fresh aroma. It’s the perfect pick-me-up after the sun goes down.
In addition, essential lime oil has a calming, fortifying effect on the skin and stimulates cell regeneration, and the anti-arthritic properties in lime oil make it benefi cial in the treatment of sore muscles and joints. I can’t think of a better way to start an endless summer night than with a refreshing massage using lime oil.”—Bergt Bieler, Director of Operations, PINO Natural Spa Therapy

“True organic medical-grade lavender is still the number-one antibacterial, antiseptic, antiinflammatory, antidepressant, deodorizing, healing, and soothing essential oil—and that’s just naming a few of its properties. You can use it on burns for inflammation and to calm the skin. Everyone loves lavender, especially Americans, but few know its super powers to deeply heal and aid in the elimination of scarring during the healing process. Every spa service can include lavender. For oily skin, it balances and purifies; for combination skin, it balances and decongests; and for the driest skin, it stimulates oil enhancement and rejuvenates cell renewal. Lavender mixes well with most essential oils and brings its flowery aroma subtly to the top.”—Canavino

Roman chamomile, in my opinion, has the most benefi ts whether you are using it in skincare or bodycare. First, it has the ability to even unsightly marks on the skin, such as scarring or pigmentation. It also works at a cellular level to protect against free radical damage, preparing the cells for proper defense once hitting the
surface. Hydration is the other big reason for the many functions of this essential oil. If the inner esthetics are being treated, it offers well hydrated skin on the outside. It also has a high number of purifying and detoxifying benefits, which can cause skin to be balanced from the inside out.”—Gallogly

“In my opinion, there is not one oil that has the most benefits. But there are some oils that are particularly versatile when used in a spa context. For example, citrus oils, such as pink grapefruit and orange, are called joy oils, because they are uplifting, positive, light, and refreshing. They are really nice for environmental fragrancing or diffusing. They are also excellent for water retention and lymph drainage, so I like to use them for body toning and detoxifying treatments when combined with other classic anti-cellulite and water-retention oils, such as cypress and fennel. These citrus oils, when combined with rosemary and peppermint, are stimulating and uplifting, but when combined with cedarwood or vetiver can be deeply relaxing. So this is an example of how versatile some of the essential oils are. It has to do with what we combine them with and how we apply them.”—Grodjesk

“At ESPA, one of our favorite essential oils is jasmine. Jasmine is known for its warm, exotic floral aroma. The word jasmine is derived from yasmin, a Persian word used to refer to an aphrodisiac. Jasmine is renowned to have mood-enhancing properties to soothe and relax the mind with a very long-lasting aroma. Jasmine is still one of the most expensive oils to extract, requiring an astonishing 1,000 flowers to extract just .2 percent oil. The flowers are also generally harvested during the night when the fragrance is most intense.
Because of jasmine’s composition, it is highly effective at cooling and calming, not just the mind but also the upper layers of the epidermis, which is why it is said to have such profound results when combined with other traditional oils, such as rose damascene, for treating the skin.”—Harmsworth

“For many years, extensive scientific research has confirmed the traditional uses of chamomile, making it one of the most popular essential oils in the world. Chamomile is one of nature’s most unique, beneficial, and versatile oils. Today, with anti-aging, inflammation, and pigmentation ranking in the top five skincare concerns, chamomile is key in addressing these specific issues along with many other skincare needs. It is one of the most widely used botanicals and boosts anti-inflammatory, healing, emollient, and antioxidant properties. Chamomile oil has great wound-healing abilities and is extensively used to address skin problems such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, hypersensitivity, and allergic conditions. Additionally, the lipophilic compounds found in chamomile oil help to reduce capillary fragility, strengthening the skin. With its vasoconstrictor properties, it also aids in reducing redness caused by enlarged capillaries, creating a unique alignment in the treatment of rosacea.”—Gwen O’Hanlon, Vice President of Sales and Education, Darphin North America

“If I had to choose one go-to oil for its ability to perform, it would have to be true lavender—lavandula angustifolia. It has more than 100 different constituents, blends well with most other essential oils, and has a wide variety of uses.”—Parry
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